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How to schedule your task using crontab

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The crontab programme is used to add, remove, or list the tables that tell the cron daemon what to do.

A crontab file tells the cron daemon to do something, like "run this command at this time on this date." Each user can have their own crontab. These files are in the /var directory, but you shouldn't edit them directly.

A cron job is any task that you schedule using crons. Cron jobs help us automate tasks that we do every hour, every day, every month, or every year.

Important Files:

  1. To allow user to use crontab, make entry in- /etc/cron.allow
  2. To deny user to use crontab, make entry in- /etc/cron.deny
Add username in /etc/cron.deny

By default, every user is allowed to use crontab to schedule their tasks. But if we want to deny any particular user, make entry in above file number 2 using vim or any other way you like.

How to use crontab

Before using crontab, we need to understand the syntax to schedule any task using crontab.

Below is the syntax summary to use crontab

*    *    *   *    *  Command_to_execute    Argument_for_command
|    |    |    |   |       
|    |    |    |    Day of the Week ( 0 - 6 ) ( Sunday = 0 )
|    |    |    |
|    |    |    Month ( 1 - 12 )
|    |    |
|    |    Day of Month ( 1 - 31 )
|    |
|    Hour ( 0 - 23 )
Min ( 0 - 59 )

In the above summary, every asterisk( * ) represent a different time period of different values.

Asterisk name( from left to right)ValueDescription
Minute of the hour0-59Command would be executed at the specific minute.
Hours of the day0-23Command would be executed at the specific hour.
Day of the Month1-31Commands would be executed in these days of the months.
Month of the year1-12 The month in which tasks need to be executed.
Weekdays0-6Days of the week where commands would run. Here, 0 is Sunday.

Crontab Options

  • To add/ delete/ edit a cron job
# crontab -e 
  • To list the cronjobs of the current user
# crontab -l
  • To remove/ deinstall the cronjobs
# crontab -r
  • To list another user's cronjobs
# crontab -u username -l
  • To edit another user's cronjobs.
# crontab -u username -e


To test the crontab, first create a script called test.sh which prints the system date and time and appends it to a file.

# vim test.sh 

date >> testfile

To make sure that this script executes, we need to give it executable permission

# chmod +x test.sh 

To run /usr/bin/test.sh at every minute

* * * * * /usr/bin/sh test.sh

To run test.sh everyday at 10pm (22:00)

0 22 * * * /usr/bin/sh test.sh

To restart the httpd service every Saturday at 1am (01:00)

0 1 * * 7 /usr/bin/systemctl restart httpd

To run test.sh at 07:30, 09:30 13:30 and 15:30

30 7,9,13,15 * * * /usr/bin/sh test.sh

Thanks you!!!

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